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History unravels in Ahmedabad-based collector Shrikant Parikh’s hobby as he speaks to N. Kalyani about his passion and how his kitty has grown over the years…
As we celebrate the 75th year of India’s Independence, we can take note of the freedom movement by way of personalities and events portrayed on stamps and coins.

Postage stamps are pieces of miniature art. Besides serving the purpose of postage, stamps are also a source of knowledge. Referred to as ambassadors of a nation, they showcase a nation’s history, politics, economy, geography, society, culture, traditions, art, architecture, flora and fauna. These themes are portrayed in aesthetically pleasing and attractive ways on a postage stamp. Stamps, therefore, also make for collectibles. So is the case with currency notes and coins minted by nations. They serve the purpose of money, but additionally, coins and notes are also collected as beautiful pieces of art, and for the wealth of information they carry. Now as we celebrate the 75th year of India’s Independence, we can, for instance, take note of the freedom movement, by way of personalities and events, portrayed on stamps and coins. Likewise, in this festive season, we take a look at Diwali depicted in Indian and foreign stamps. For Shrikant Parikh, it is the collecting of postage stamps and postcards, as also currency notes and coins that is a passion. Besides his interest in philately and numismatics, he also has a fetish for collecting souvenir spoons and shot glasses. In an interview with Art Soul Life Magazine, the Ahmedabad-based collector speaks of his hobbies, and how his kitty of collectibles has grown over the years.

Please tell us what makes up your collection – the philatelic and numismatic collection, and other collectibles.

My philatelic collection consists of postage stamps in mint condition issued by the Indian postal department from 1947 to date. Regular and commemorative coins issued by India in denominations from 1 paisa to Rs 1000 are also of interest to me. Currency notes issued by the Reserve Bank of India since Independence in all denominations, carrying the signatures of different RBI governors (except withdrawn notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination) are also part of my numismatic collection. I also collect foreign coins.

My collection also includes picture postcards from 90 countries. And the 5000-plus picture postcards are on many interesting themes: flowers, animals, birds, paintings, butterflies, flags, costumes, dances, UNESCO sites, mountains, Blue Cats by Irina Zeinuk, shaped cards, sunset and dolls. I also collect souvenir spoons and shot glasses from countries around the world. Souvenir spoons are spoons, marketed at tourist places, with attractive designs of the place or the country’s popular monuments, flag or coats of arm. And shot glasses are mini versions of normal glasses with tourist symbols, and make for attractive souvenirs.

When did your interest in such collectibles take root?

Right from my childhood I had an inclination to collect items such as quality marbles and match-box labels. During high school days, the collection of stamps was prompted by my teachers, and through the help of family members and friends I could manage a handsome collection which was displayed at my school too. In 1974, I became a member of a philatelic society. With the enhancement of my interest and knowledge in philately I was attracted to numismatics. During my frequent overseas trips over the years, I have also collected souvenir spoons and shot glasses. I also joined the international platform of Post crossing in 2012.

Please tell us what Postcrossing is.

The platform of Postcrossing helps a registered member exchange handwritten picture postcards with people from around the world. How does it work? You get addresses from Postcrossing, and after a postcard you send is received by the person to whom you send it, you will get one postcard from another member. The cycle goes on thus.

How do you source such collectibles?

There are established dealers, and persons of similar interest with whom one can exchange items. New postage stamps can be purchased from the philatelic bureau at post offices across the country, and new coins and banknotes from the Reserve Bank of India. One can build one’s souvenir spoon and shot glass collection by getting such items during one’s travels, and through international contacts. I found nice spoons and shot glasses during my trips in India and overseas. And my family, and the many friends I have, contribute in widening my collection.

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